Benazir Bhutto

June 21, 1953 – December 27, 2007

benazir_bhutto

"When I was a very young child I remember I was always against violence. It was an era when people used to go shooting and hunting. I remember once coming out on the veranda in our home in the countryside -- and my father was teaching my brother to shoot a parrot and... I remember seeing the parrot fall down dead and bleed, and I remember being appalled by it. And I remember the parrot fluttering and I can't bear to see blood to this day or killing. I'm very much against war and conflict and the taking of life, and I think that seeing that little bird -- green and beautiful and living and chirping in the tree, and then falling down dead -- did have a profound effect. It sounds silly to say that I should feel so strongly about a bird, but I remember my father telling me when he was facing the death sentence that 'I remember the little girl who cried so much because a bird died, how she must feel.' So for me, human life is very, very sacred."

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"...before [my father] died, I had my last meeting with him, in the death cell, and he said that, 'You have suffered so much.' I had been in prison myself, and he said, 'You are so young. You just finished your university. You came back. You had your whole life and look at the terror under which we have lived.' So he said, 'I set you free. Why don't you go and live in London or Paris or Switzerland or Washington, and you are well taken care of, and have some happiness because you have seen too much suffering.' I reached out through the prison bars, and I remember grasping his hands and saying, 'No, papa, I will continue the struggle that you began for democracy.' "

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"If you believe in something, go for it, but know that when you go for it there's a price to be paid. Be ready to pay that price and you can contribute to the welfare of society, and society will acknowledge you and respect you for it. And don't be afraid. Don't be afraid."

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"I think that as nation states begin to become weaker because of the force of globalization, there will be a greater reversion to ethnicity and to religious violence. I fear that the international community lacks a mechanism for conflict prevention or being in a position to end the conflict. Everyone is looking towards America, and the American people have their own problems. They can be there if there's a strategic concern, but they can't be there everywhere. So there is a lack of growth of regional institutions that could deal with regional violence and leave the global problems or the strategic problems to the more global powers. I fear the 21st Century could witness a period of contradiction where there is the greatest era of peace -- the super power rivalry having gone -- but there is a lot of localized violence."

--Benazir Bhutto (Interview from October 2000)